- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A California restaurant owner has gone viral after confronting public health inspectors who tried to issue him a citation for allegedly breaking coronavirus-related restrictions.

Anton Van Happen, owner of Nick The Greek restaurant in Ventura, is seen on video shared by The Daily Caller’s Jorge Ventura screaming at two inspectors who accused him of serving customers outside despite a regional stay-at-home order that bans in-person dining.

“I’ve followed the rules!” the business owner yelled in the video. “I continue to follow the rules, and you guys still, time after time, are giving me citations, telling me I have to close my business?”

“I chose to protest by putting my tables outside, and I reiterate again, I never served one single person outside!” he added. “I did all takeout food and delivery. So exactly what I was supposed to be doing, that’s exactly what I did.”

In the video, officials said Mr. Van Happen’s permit to operate had been suspended Friday and that he continued to serve customers over the weekend without a permit.

“Because what am I going to do if I close? Are you going to pay my rent?” Mr. Van Happen asked in the video.

“No,” the official responded.

“So if you’re not going to pay my rent, I’m not closing,” Mr. Van Happen replied.

In another video, a supporter of the restaurant also started yelling at the inspectors.

“There are 100 people inside Walmart,” the man said. “What are you doing? Just get out! Nobody wants you here!”

The inspectors then informed Mr. Van Happen that he can request a hearing to overturn the suspension and get his restaurant reopened.

“This whole thing is becoming a power trip,” Mr. Van Happen later told The Daily Caller in an interview. “It’s not even about COVID anymore.”

He said he plans on staying open despite the closure notice, joining thousands of restaurant owners across the country, including in Ventura, who are defying coronavirus-related restrictions in a movement dubbed #OpenSafe.

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